Period: Middle Kingdom
Dynasty: Dynasty 12
Reign: early reign of Amenemhat I
Date: ca. 1981–1975 B.C.
Geography: From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Southern Asasif, Tomb of Meketre (TT 280, MMA 1101), serdab, MMA excavations, 1920
Medium: Wood, plaster, paint, linen, grain
Dimensions: L. 74.9 (29 1/2 in); W. 56 cm (22 1/16 in); H. 36.5 (14 3/8 in);
average height of figures: 20 cm (7 7/8 in.)
Credit Line: Rogers Fund and Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1920
Accession Number: 20.3.11
This model of a granary was discovered in a hidden chamber at the side of the passage leading into the rock cut tomb of the royal chief steward Meketre, who began his career under King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II of Dynasty 11 and continued to serve successive kings into the early years of Dynasty 12.
The four corners of this model granary are peaked in a manner that is sometimes still found in southern Egypt today presumably to offer additional protection against thieves and rodents. The interior is divided into two main sections: the granary proper, where grain was stored, and an accounting area. Keeping track of grain supplies was crucial in an agricultural society, and it is noteworthy that the six men carrying sacks of grain here are outnumbered by nine men taking care of measuring and accounting. Of the four scribes two are using papyrus scrolls, two write on wooden writing boards.
All the accessible rooms in the tomb of Meketre had been robbed and plundered already during Antiquity; but early in 1920 the Museum's excavator, Herbert Winlock, wanted to obtain an accurate floor plan of the tomb's layout for his map of the Eleventh Dynasty necropolis at Thebes and, therefore, had his workmen clean out the accumulated debris. It was during this cleaning operation that the small hidden chamber was discovered, filled with twenty-four almost perfectly preserved models. Eventually, half of these went to the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, and the other half came to the Metropolitan Museum in the partition of finds.
Link to a blog about ancient architectural models
Modeling the World: Ancient Architectural Models Now on View
Link to a blog about scribes in Ancient Egypt
Showing Signs: Hieroglyphs and Palettes in the Stela of Irtisen